Laser Power Supplies

  
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Construct universal power supplies, including: Low-voltage power supplies for operating electronic equipment are in the next section. There you`ll find designs for single- and dual-voltage regulated supplies, including an all-purpose adjustable version and battery pack regulators. A helium-neon laser tube must be connected to a high-voltage power supply or it won`t work.
Laser Power Supplies - schematic

You have two options to provide the required juice: buy a ready-made laser power supply or build your own. Commercially made power supplies for helium-neon lasers are available from a variety of sources, and if you are just starting out, this is the best route to go. As detailed in Section 5, you need to be sure that the supply is rated for the tube you are using. Some tubes require more operating current than others and might not work properly with a power supply that can`t deliver the milliamps. He-Ne laser power supplies you build yourself are not overly complicated and they don`t need lots of parts. But the parts they do require can be hard to find. Specifically, the laser power supply must use high-voltage diodes and capacitors ”the higher the rating, the better. The 1N4007 diode is rated at 1 kV, the minimum you can use. Such diodes are bound to burn out when running a laser that consumes more than 5 milliamps, so 3- to 10-ky diodes are preferred. High-voltage capacitors of the typical values used in laser power supplies ” 0. 1 to 0. 001 F, are even harder to find. Most high-voltage capacitors have very low values, usually in the tens of picofarads. Perhaps the most troublesome component is the transformer. The ideal laser power supply transformer is specially made to conform to the specifications required by the job, but a number of ready-made step-up switching type transformers can effectively be used. The hard part...



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